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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: Heartbreak Hotel, Deborah Moggach

Despite me never reading the book The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, on which the film adaptation is based, I had a feeling I would love "Heartbreak Hotel", since it's written by the same author.

I was right.

Our hero is Buffy, a retired actor with a confusing collection of ex-wives, children and step-children which requires a detailed family tree of which to keep track. One day, he finds out he has been left a B&B by one of his dearest friends (whom he consequently had lost touch with for a while) near Wales. He takes the leap and moves away from London into the shabby B&B and starts out on a little adventure.

He quickly realises, though, that he needs to offer more than the standard service - particularly because the B&B itself has seen finer days. He has an idea to run "Courses for Divorces", different things that exes might recently find themselves unable to do as their ex used to do it - car maintenance, cooking etc.

Interspersed with Buffy's plans are an array of chapters about different people whom end up on these different courses. For most, it is a welcome week away; for others, it represents the start of a whole new life.

Moggach's book is written with warmth, humour, and the belief that while one doesn't necessarily need romantic relationships, they can be wonderful to the people that are in them. It's not just romance, however - friendships are made and rekindled, pasts reconciled, and new avenues explored. It really is a little gem of a book that will keep you smiling and laughing the whole way through.

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